You know you want a digital camera because it's the future of photography, right?
After careful consideration you have decided to go digital because
- you can look at your pictures on the display as you take them
- you can delete the embarrassing/less brilliant ones immediately
- the rerecordable digital memory saves money as you don't have to buy lots of film
- you already have a computer, printer and image manipulation package at home
But how do you know which camera to buy? This website aims to point you in the right direction by giving you a brief run-down of the big names and the products they sell, and some idea of what digital camera accessories you might need to go with your shiny new camera.
The list of factors determining your choice of digital camera is endless and entirely personal. Here are the Big Four.
Resolution - measured in megapixels.
The number of megapixels refers to the digital camera's ability to record detail. One megapixel is equal to one million pixels. The higher the number of megapixels, the finer the image your camera produces will be. Effective megapixels are those pixels that actually record the image, so be aware that the total megapixels might not represent the camera's real ability to record detail.
Resolution up to 1.0 megapixels produces images suitable for emailing and websites, and prints up to 3" x 5".
Resolution from 1.0 to 2.0 megapixels produces prints up to 8" x 10" and is good for general and leisure use.
Resolution from 2.1 to 3.5 megapixels produces prints up to 11" x 14" and records higher quality images.
More than 3.5 megapixels produce even better quality images. 6.0 megapixels approaches the quality found in 35mm film, which is stipulated by professional photographers but unnecessary for normal recreational use.
Zoom - the total zoom figure could be 12x, and is made up of two parts.
Optical zoom refers to the power of the camera's lens to magnify the picture. 3x optical zoom indicates that the lens has the capacity to magnify the image three times.
Digital zoom refers to the camera's ability to magnify the image with digital technology (so, nothing to do with the lens itself). This could be up to as much as 700 times!
Price - can be anything from $50 to $15000. As a rule of thumb, a general purpose, family-use only camera will set you back about $100 and a professional camera can cost anything from $1000. See the page on cheap digital cameras for a discussion of price versus value.
Usage - what will you use the camera for? Advertising? Snapshots of your children? Recording the process of improvements on your kitchen? Fashion shoots? Emailing pics from a party to your mates? However you plan to use a digital camera, there is one out there that caters for your needs.